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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Europe / Germany
  • Language:English
  • Pages:268
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667842431

Memories of Life in East Germany: Snapshots

by Richard A. Zipser

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Overview
The German Democratic Republic, commonly referred to as East Germany, was neither democratic nor a republic. It was a repressive dictatorship. "Memories of Life in East Germany: Snapshots" is a memoir comprised of 58 short prose texts focusing on experiences Richard A. Zipser had or things he observed while traveling and doing research in communist East Germany during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. This book is a companion piece to his first memoir, "Remembering East Germany," which he published in 2021. Like its predecessor, Snapshots offers readers the unique perspective of an American who, as an outsider living in East Germany, gained unusual insider knowledge and experience of that totalitarian society. Through the snapshots which capture telling moments, people, events, and encounters, Zipser partially recreates the bygone world he experienced firsthand as a young professor, for the benefit of English-speaking readers today. This fascinating book, like its "sibling" memoir, provides unique insights into a closed society behind the Iron Curtain that no other Westerner was able to experience so intensely. It reflects, on multiple levels, how Zipser experienced communist East Germany and how it in turn experienced him. His book will transport its readers back in time to the chilling Cold War days of yesteryear and East Germany, a country that in 1990 suddenly and unexpectedly vanished. Richard A. Zipser is Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Delaware. His field of specialization is literature of the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany). He is the author of several major books on different and very important aspects of East German literature and cultural policy.
Description
The German Democratic Republic, commonly referred to as East Germany, was neither democratic nor a republic. It was a repressive dictatorship. "Memories of Life in East Germany: Snapshots" is a memoir comprised of 58 short prose texts focusing on experiences Richard A. Zipser had or things he observed while traveling and doing research in communist East Germany during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. This book is a companion piece to his first memoir, "Remembering East Germany," which he published in 2021. Like its predecessor, Snapshots offers readers the unique perspective of an American who, as an outsider living in East Germany, gained unusual insider knowledge and experience of that totalitarian society. Through the snapshots which capture telling moments, people, events, and encounters, Zipser partially recreates the bygone world he experienced firsthand as a young professor, for the benefit of English-speaking readers today. This fascinating book, like its "sibling" memoir, provides unique insights into a closed society behind the Iron Curtain that no other Westerner was able to experience so intensely. It reflects, on multiple levels, how Zipser experienced communist East Germany and how it in turn experienced him. His book will transport its readers back in time to the chilling Cold War days of yesteryear and East Germany, a country that in 1990 suddenly and unexpectedly vanished. Richard A. Zipser is Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Delaware. His field of specialization is literature of the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany). He is the author of several major books on different and very important aspects of East German literature and cultural policy.
About the author
Richard Zipser has a PhD in German Literature from The Johns Hopkins University. From 1969 to 1986, he taught German language and literature at Oberlin College. From 1986 to 2013, he was Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Delaware. He retired on August 31, 2014. Dr. Zipser's field of specialization is literature of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), commonly known as East Germany. He is the author of several major books that focus on different and very important aspects of East German literature and cultural policy. His documentary memoir, "Remembering East Germany. From Oberlin to East Berlin," was published in 2021. In addition to this book, he has published a three-volume book focusing on East German writing during the 1970s and a documentary work on literary censorship in East Germany. From 1986 to 2014, Zipser was General Editor of DDR-STUDIEN/EAST GERMAN STUDIES, a series of scholarly monographs on topics in the humanities and social sciences pertaining to the GDR. Over the course of his long career, Richard Zipser has been the recipient of numerous awards, honors, and grants. In 1977-1978, with the support of a prestigious International Research and Exchanges Board Scholarship, he carried out research projects in the GDR. In 1980-1981, he was a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In 1985, at the 1985 Leipzig Book Fair in East Germany, he had the privilege of presiding over an exhibit of "America's Best: Prizewinning Books 1983-1984." This exhibit, the first of its kind behind the Iron Curtain, was sponsored by the United States Information Agency and the American Embassy to the GDR in East Berlin. In 1987, Zipser served as President of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages Executive Committee, Modern Language Association. In 1992-1993, he was Visiting Humanities Fellow at The Johns Hopkins University's American Institute for Contemporary German Studies. And in 2018, he was honored to accept an invitation to become a member of the International PEN Centre of German-Speaking Authors Abroad / PEN Zentrum deutschsprachiger Autoren im Ausland. On the national and international level, Richard Zipser is considered to be one of the leading experts on East German literature and cultural policy.
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